Health officials urge mosquito-borne illnesses prevention strategies

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HENDRY COUNTY — The Florida Department of Health in Hendry County (DOH- Hendry County) emphasizes the importance for residents and visitors to protect themselves against mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile virus disease. The public should remain diligent in implementing preventative measures like “Drain and Cover.”

DRAIN standing water to stop mosquitoes from multiplying.
• Drain water from garbage cans, house gutters, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flower pots or any other containers where sprinkler or rain water has collected.
• Discard old tires, drums, bottles, cans, pots and pans, broken appliances and other items that aren’t being used.
• Empty and clean birdbaths and pet’s water bowls at least once or twice a week.
• Protect boats and vehicles from rain with tarps that don’t accumulate water.
• Maintain swimming pools in good condition and appropriately chlorinated. Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use.

COVER skin with clothing or repellent.
• Clothing - Wear shoes, socks, and long pants and long-sleeves. This type of protection may be necessary for people who must work in areas where mosquitoes are present.
• Repellent - Apply mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing.
• Always use repellents according to the label. Repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, 2-undecanone and IR3535 are effective.
• Use mosquito netting to protect children younger than 2 months old.

Tips on Repellent Use
• Always read label directions carefully for the approved usage before you apply a repellent. Some repellents are not suitable for children.
• Products with concentrations of up to 30% DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) are generally recommended. Other U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-approved repellents contain picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, 2-undecanone or IR3535. These products are generally available at local pharmacies. Look for active ingredients to be listed on the product label.
• Apply insect repellent to exposed skin, or onto clothing, but not under clothing.
• In protecting children, read label instructions to be sure the repellent is age-appropriate. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mosquito repellents containing oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol should not be used on children under the age of three years. DEET is not recommended on children younger than two months old.
• Avoid applying repellents to the hands of children. Adults should apply repellent first to their own hands and then transfer it to the child’s skin and clothing.
• If additional protection is necessary, apply a permethrin repellent directly to your clothing. Again, always follow the manufacturer’s directions.

COVER doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out of your house.
• Repair broken screening on windows, doors, porches, and patios.

To determine which repellent is right for you, consider using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s search tool for skin-applied repellent products: cfpub.epa.gov/oppref/insect/#searchform.

DOH continues to conduct statewide surveillance for mosquito-borne illnesses, including West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, St. Louis Encephalitis, Malaria and Dengue. For more information on mosquito-borne illnesses, visit DOH’s Web site at www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/mosquito-borne-diseases/index.html or call your local county health department.

Residents of Florida are encouraged to report dead birds via the website for Surveillance of Wild-bird Die-offs located at legacy.myfwc.com/bird/default.asp.
Florida Emergency Information Line: 1-800-342-3557
Public Information Emergency Support Function: 850-921-0384

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